Hello, everyone. My name is Katie Beth Young and I have a few words for those with AND without a Rheumatoid Arthritis diagnosis.
You might have read my mom’s post called The Me Before Rheumatoid Arthritis. Next month, I’ll be 17 so I remember the stucco days. I remember the landscaping, the hundreds of perfectly frosted and decorated cookies for a baby shower, the Christmas decorations and delicacies, the spick and span house, etc. I was the little kid in the overalls in one of the pictures from that post. I know firsthand what Rheumatoid Arthritis can do to someone’s life.
My own life has changed also in so many ways. I must be strong for my mom as we wait for a cure. Even though sometimes I truly feel there’s nothing I can do, I try to find as many ways to help as possible.
Margaret Becker is my very favorite music artist. She has a song called “I Won’t Be Persuaded.” If you don’t mind, I’d like to quote the chorus: “I don’t understand where you are in all this. Still I wait and hope and pray, and I won’t be persuaded…” That’s what we do: We wait for a cure, we hope for a remission, and pray for strength.
Sometimes there’s nothing else to do. But, I think maybe in this situation there’s one more thing: Act. We can act.
Those who have Rheumatoid Arthritis need to bring awareness to the rest of the world. They are the only ones who can. They have to make the doctors listen. They need to let those who do care help them. They need to fight! I am not in the position to tell them what to do, but doesn’t it seem hard enough to have RA without all that, too?
However, I AM in the position to speak to everyone else. Action needs to be taken by those who love people with Rheumatoid Arthritis. More than one type of action. I know you didn’t ask for your loved one to become disabled and sick, but they didn’t ask to BE disabled and sick either. Here are a few examples of the things I do to try to help.
I go with my mom on her errands and especially to her doctor’s appointments. While being encouraging is important, I find comfort in actually helping physically. Whenever we are out, I offer to take my mom’s purse for her. If you have RA, you know how heavy even a lightweight purse can be to an affected shoulder, wrist, hand, etc. Some doors are so heavy that no one with Rheumatoid Arthritis would ever get in unless someone opened it for them! For goodness sakes, open the door for them.
At the grocery store, I pick up the juice bottles and cans. I let my mom point at what to get and I get some. No big deal – for me.
My sister and I help my mom make dinner every night and do it ourselves sometimes. Picking up pots and opening cans doesn’t cause us trouble. We try to keep the kitchen clean. I remember the time not too long ago when we never even washed the dishes, our mom did it all!
Just as important as the physical help is the support of a listening ear. Let your mom, dad, sister, friend tell you about the pain and fatigue. Let them be heard. They say we don’t understand, but why can’t we try? Most of their suffering is kept to themselves; after all, the pain is constant.
This is just a start to everything we can do to show the people we love that we care. No, it’s not even showing we care; it’s doing the only right thing. Think of it this way: what would you want if you were disabled, in pain, and hoping for a remission? You’d want someone to open the door, for goodness sake.
I hope I didn’t bore anyone, this being my first time and all. I suppose I’m not quite as witty as my mom! ; D Wait, Hope, Pray… and Act.
I recommend you also read The Me Before Rheumatoid Arthritis and